As described in two earlier installments, the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility (Lowell, Mass.) has been moving forward in the process of achieving ISO 14001 certification, guided by an implementation team of employee volunteers.
The Utility recently conducted the third in a series of five awareness training sessions designed to educate employees about environmental management systems and increase buy-in.
This session focused on the introduction of procedures designed to manage odors at the facility. However, unlike the ISO procedures introduced at previous sessions, which were new to the employees, the procedures introduced at this session were not new. They were the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that had been in place already but edited to conform to the ISO format.
Following the format of the previous awareness session, Cheryl Murphy, leader of the chemical procedures mock audit, led off by summarizing the most recent pre-audit results:
A methodical auditing program such as the one being used by the Lowell team offers a number of benefits. Key among them are:
Let’s take a closer look at two areas where these benefits are working at the Lowell facility.
Safety and Health Concerns
Since this finding was recurring, the team decided to recommend additional review of the safety standards during subsequent hazcom training. The next audit should reveal information that will point to additional recommendations or show that the management system has reached a comfortable plateau.
Here it’s easy to determine whether employees are following the procedures established. Subsequent tracking will also help determine whether sustained nonconformance are the result of employee or visitor activity — and whether corrective action is necessary.
A Focus on the Future
Following the audit briefing, attention turned to an overhead presentation of 10 SOPs governing odor control. The operations and maintenance employees work with these procedures every day, so they are familiar with them already. The only adjustment required will be to the ISO procedure format.
The next item was an update on the Utility’s progress toward achieving certification. Mark Young of the implementation team reported that five registrars have been invited to make presentations to the team’s selection committee. (More on how that went in the next installment.)
|ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000 ISO 14000|
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